It Becometh Us to Fulfil All Righteousness
“And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness…”
Matthew 3:15a (KJV)
In this familiar passage of Scripture, the Lord Jesus Christ is about to be baptized by John the Baptist. John the Baptist was probably very relieved to see Jesus coming alongside the banks of the Jordan. After all, John had been preaching about the coming of Jesus Christ for quite some time, and the Man of whom he spake was finally coming to be baptized. However, John the Baptist quickly realized that something was wrong with this picture. John the Baptist knew that Jesus was Almighty God and that he came to take away the sin of the whole world. Therefore, John the Baptist realized that he, being corruptible man, was not worthy to baptize Jesus, but rather Jesus was worthy to baptize him. In verse number fifteen, Jesus answers John in the most beautiful phrase in Scripture: “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness…”
Let’s begin to dissect this verse.
The first thing Jesus said in verse 15 was to “suffer it to be so now.” Basically, Jesus was saying, “Let it happen for now.” However, the second part has an even deeper meaning: “for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.” What did Jesus mean by “it becometh us.” The Greek word used for the word becometh is prepo ( πρέπω) meaning to be suitable or proper or to be fit or right. Interestingly enough, this Greek word prepo is where our English word, prepare is derived from. Basically, Jesus was telling John not only that it was proper, fit, and right for John to baptize Him, but rather that this baptism would be a preparation for what was to come. Based on Scripture, we know that this was the temptation of Jesus by the devil in the wilderness, recorded in Matthew 4. Thus, it can be inferred from Scripture that Jesus’ baptism was not only right and fit, but that it was a preparation for the trials and tests He would endure during his stay on earth.
In the last half of the verse, Jesus coined this phrase: “to fulfil all righteousness.” This latter half of the verse has several spiritual applications. We see right here in this verse that Jesus was not focused on appearances, or “how it would look” or what other people thought, but rather that righteousness was his main concern and goal. This desire, this hunger, for righteousness, or to “fulfil all righteousness” is severely lacking in today’s society. Righteousness is not people’s main concern and goal. May we, as Christians, be the lights this Christmas season that shine to point people to the Way of Righteousness, and help turn people away from the way of error. May God bless us as we continue to “hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5:6) –SB